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Monday, 23 July, 2001, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
Boat trip ends in happy birth

A Dutch mother and her baby are both "doing well" in hospital after the youngster's early arrival sparked an international rescue.

Rose Tavenier Kaljouw chose to make her appearance as her parents were enjoying what was meant to be a leisurely sail along Scotland's Caledonian Canal.

Maria and Stan Tavenier Kaljouw, from Vilissingen in the Netherlands, were delivering their new racing yacht from the River Clyde to Inverness when the baby decided to make her arrival - six weeks earlier than expected.

Stranded on one of the most remote stretches of the canal, they discovered they could not dial 999 on their mobile phone.

Raigmore Hospital, Inverness
Rose was delivered at Raigmore Hospital a short time later

So, they used the emergency contact with their Dutch travel insurance firm, which in turn put them in touch with the ambulance service in Sussex. It passed the message on to Inverness.

Mr Kaljouw then had to switch on his yacht's global positioning system to guide the paramedics to the boat.

Rose was born in Raigmore Hospital in Inverness a short time later and was in perfect health.

Stan, 38, a hospital technician said: "I was frantic with concern when the baby started to come. I could see only one house near the boat and although there was a light on and I rang the bell hanging outside very hard no one came.

I am afraid that my baby wanted to be born in Scotland, and there was nothing I could do about it

Maria Tavenier Kaljouw

"I then discovered that I could not contact the emergency services in the UK on my mobile phone.

"But we had a brain wave and remembered the emergency number on our Dutch travel insurance. I dialled that number and got Amsterdam, and the person there suggested that I find the nearest phone booth.

"I had to explain that I was miles from anywhere and there was no phone and told them 'You are going to organise an ambulance for me right now.'

"They got the message and said they would phone back in two minutes. When the call came they put me in touch with someone called Jamie in the ambulance service in Sussex who then passed me through to the ambulance despatch in Inverness who made contact with the ambulance in Fort Augustus."

Showered with gifts

"I am afraid that my baby wanted to be born in Scotland, and there was nothing I could do about it," said Maria, recovering in hospital.

"It was very worrying at the time, and by the time the ambulance arrived the crew told me my contractions were coming every two minutes which was really bad news.

"Baby Rose is healthy but small, weighing five and a half pounds and 48cm long.

"Of course I had no baby things with me but everyone has been giving us presents of baby things and my sister Wilma has come over with more equipment."

"In Holland we spell the name Rose "Roos" but we are spelling it the Scottish way because she was born here."

See also:

16 Mar 00 | Scotland
Early baby warning system
05 Jan 99 | Health
12-ounce baby goes home
06 Feb 00 | Health
Test safer for unborn babies
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